Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Monday, January 26, 2015

What if Alexander had left the throne to his son from the Persian princess Stateira, descended from and protected by Sisygambis?

Actually this is a thought that was formulated by Robbert Bosschart in his book “All Alexander’s Women” – the most dazzling theory of them all! What if Alexander would have died some twenty years later - after all, a king remaining alive until the age of 53 was quite normal then - and had left the empire to his son from the Persian princess Stateira, granddaughter of Queen Mother Sisygambis?

There would have been sufficient time for Alexander to consolidate his empire. Of course, no one could have filled the heartfelt void that Hephaistion left behind, but Peucestas would have become a highly efficient Chiliarch (Prime Minister) by then – after all, he managed to learn the Persian language. With general Craterus as Regent or even Vice-Roy in the West, general Seleucos as Vice-Roy in the East (we know that in the end he became the founder of the Seleucid dynasty that ruled the East for nearly three hundred years), general Ptolemy at the head of Central Command, and Cassander safely executed for yet another attempt on Alexander's life, the empire would be perfectly stable for a twenty-years-old Crown Prince (called Cyrus, probably) to rule.

Following the thoughts of Robbert Bosschart, this powerful dynasty born from Stateira that Alexander and Sisygambis wanted to leave behind, would have predated, pre-empted and outpaced the Roman state by three centuries. Their “Kingdom of all Lands”, and not the Roman Empire, would have become the basic model of our western society, including the feminine values. Alexander’s legacy would also have given us a different way of thinking about the role of men and women in public life (one of the most revealing facts in “All Alexander’s Women” is that in Persia, men and women lived and worked on a level of equality). Thát, above all, would have changed world history.

But still, Alexander could not have ignored his son from Roxane, the later Alexander IV, who would have been of the same age as the presumed Cyrus. He would complicate the abovementioned theory. It is evident that Stateira was of higher royal rank than Roxane, the daughter of a leading Bactrian tribe. The same order of precedence would apply to their respective offsprings, and Alexander the Great would have arranged a satisfactory career for Alexander IV as well, depending on his character and his inclinations. He may have grown up at the Persian court where his father and the Queen Mother could have provided for a proper education; or he may have grown up at the Macedonian court under the guidance of Queen Olympias and/or Craterus; or maybe a mixture of both since Alexander’s vision was to unite east and west and melt his empire into one (simply think of the mass-wedding in Susa). Remains the open question of how well young Cyrus and young Alexander would get along together …

The Persian viewpoint is, in many ways, turning our perspectives topsy-turvy as Alexander’s succession always has been presented as a Macedonian affair. If the Queen Mother or any high Persian official ever had a voice in the crowd of Macedonian officers is not mentioned in ancient sources, but these were evidently written by Greeks and no effort has been made (even by modern authors) to investigate that side of history. There must have been Persian records of the events, but if they have survived is another matter, and even if they do exist they most probably have not been translated or are still lingering in some obscure museum storage.

Bringing Stateira and her son into play as Robbert Bosschart has done, would definitely influence my above speculations, especially in the case of Hephaistion surviving Alexander. True to Alexander’s thoughts and wishes, he would have raised young Cyrus as a crown-prince and would have treated Sisygambis and Olympias with the appropriate deference to put their stamp on the education of both Alexander’s son.

All theories are certainly worth pondering for they are all fascinating and frightening at the same time, especially since each theory automatically raises ever more questions Yes, what if …?  Only Zeus knows what would have happened and what our modern world would have looked like.

[Picture of Stateira in Babylon is from Oliver Stone's move "Alexander"]

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